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Erich Kahler Collection 1886-1980

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Erich Kahler Collection 1886-1980


Publication date 1912
Collection LeoBaeckInstitute; americana
Digitizing sponsor Leo Baeck Institute Archives
Contributor Leo Baeck Institute Archives
Language German
Erich Kahler (1885-1970), author and lecturer in Europe and the United States. history and culture of the Jews. New School for Social Research, in New York City. Der deutsche Charakter..

Erich Kahler (originally von Kahler) was born on October 14, 1885 in Prague and grew up in Vienna, Austria. He studied at the universities of Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Heidelberg and Freiburg, where he attended lectures in Philosophy, Literature, Fine Arts, History, Sociology and Psychology. Kahler earned his Ph.D. in 1911 at the University of Vienna and made his home in Wolfratshausen, near Munich. He then traveled throughout Europe, working as an author and lecturer

When Hitler gained power in 1933, Erich Kahler fled Nazi-Germany and returned to Prague. Soon the political development in Europe forced him into exile and he left the continent for the United States. In 1938 he arrived in New York and then moved to Princeton, at the request of his friend Thomas Mann. He became a U.S. citizen in 1944. - Erich Kahler continued his career in the United States successfully as a lecturer and visiting professor from 1940 to 1960. One of the university teaching positions he held was at the New School for Social Research, in New York City. Man the Measure, his first book published in America, is based on his lectures there

Other German Jewish academics and scientists, who left Europe before Word War II, always surrounded him. This so-called Kahler-Kreis (Kahler-Circle) included among others Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann and Hermann Broch. Kahler cultivated a very close friendship with Thomas Mann and his entire family. The correspondence of these two individuals was published under the title, An Exceptional Friendship: The Correspondence of Thomas Mann and Erich Kahler

Erich Kahler was a teacher and a literary critic. He published a wide number of books and essays and contributed regularly to magazines and papers. As a member of various anti-war and anti-bomb groups he protested World War II and the devastating effects of military action. He volunteered for the Committee to Frame a World Constitution and the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, just to name a few organizations. Throughout his life, Kahler was also a staunch supporter of the Zionist movement

Erich Kahler died in Princeton in June 1970. His second wife, Alice (Lili) Kahler-Loewy, whom he married during his time in Princeton, died in 1992. She took care of his bequest and donated his papers to different research establishments, among others to the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

The Erich Kahler Collection is divided into two series. The first series concerns the author's professional life, his many works and his numerous colleagues. The second series concerns the authors personal life. The collection consists of a number of the author's manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, documents and clippings

The bulk of the first series is manuscripts. Some of them are handwritten while others are typed with accompanying handwritten notes from Erich Kahler. They span a time period from 1913 to 1965. There are also handwritten notes and pieces of manuscripts by the author that are either sections of or notes for his most well known books. These are, for example, The Jews and the Arabs in Palestine, which he wrote together with Albert Einstein in 1944 and Was ist Musik? Das Leben V.Z.'s, an obituary to Viktor Zuckerkandl from 1965

Since the author was friends with famous German authors like Thomas Mann and Hermann Broch, their letters are a highlight of the collection's correspondence

Furthermore Kahler's entire family was very close friends with Albert Einstein. Erich Kahler himself, as well as his second wife Alice Kahler-Loewy and also his mother Antoinette von Kahler corresponded with Einstein. Those letters may be found in this collection. Photos from Albert Einstein also document the close relationship between the Kahler Family and him

Also included in this collection is a large amount of letters from Friedrich Gundolf. Erich Kahler and his first wife Josephine (born Sobotka) were very close with Gundolf. These letters are well preserved

The documents in the collection span a period of fourty-four years, from 1884 to 1938. Of particular interest are several documents from the time right before World War II. Financial certifications from the Czech Republic and from Austria, Antoinette von Kahler's health attestations and certifications from different authorities document the preparation of the family's immigration to their exile in the United States

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